What if our pastors so caught the vision for a united Bride that a mandate for church membership required monthly attendance at another fellowship? What if we cared less about relevance and more about the simple gospel and sound doctrine? What if we spent less time talking about our latest “download” (as if God were some great, cosmic Internet server) and more time doing the work of making disciples? What if we were so honest about our lack of God in our services that we sat in silence until He manifested Himself instead of pursuing emotionalism? What if we made sacrifices like opting to sell our church seats and sit on the floor if we couldn’t meet our missions goal any other way? What if we became so hungry for God’s presence that we didn’t let the threat of bad weather keep us from being faithful to our house of worship?
What if we did away with the office of the “catcher” during altar services and trusted that a God powerful enough to knock a person to the ground is powerful enough to keep them from injury? What if we stopped trying to reach a generation of jaded youth with game stations and ice breakers? What if we prayed more and talked less at prayer meetings? What if we stopped making excuses for our lack of prayer?
What if we went so deep into the creativity of God that we stopped trying to “Christianize” the latest trend (“Survivor”-themed youth groups, “Hunger Games” conferences, and “twerkers for Jesus”)? What if we stopped lying about little things (“I’ll be there in a minute,” “you scared me to death,” “you’re driving me crazy”) and realized how much weight our words actually carry? What if we stopped waiting for disciples to come to our buildings to be disciples and actively pursued discipleship? What if we stopped trying to mimic what “successful” churches are doing and started listening to what the Holy Spirit wanted from our fellowships?
What if we focused less on “my destiny” and more on “my servanthood?” What if we cared less about getting from God and latched on the joy of being used to meet another’s need? What if we looked at the testimonies of Pastor Sayeed and Meriam Ishag and stopped claiming persecution while we sit in our comfortable suburban homes with the air conditioners running? What if we got serious about the condition of our own hearts, used Christ as the standard of perfection, and stopped comparing ourselves to other Christians? What if we quit making Jesus a competition instead of a relationship? What if we recognized what Scripture defines as blessed looks very different than what our consumeristic religious experience thinks?
What if we labeled sin for what it was instead of being afraid of being politically incorrect? What if we started coming down as hard on divorce and adultery in the church as we do on homosexuality? What if we actually cared enough about the slaughter of the unborn to get involved? What if we were so serious about purity that we didn’t take the soft-pornography that has become prime time television lightly? Has it really become okay that Christians support reality shows that follow an unmarried couple into a hotel suite before they sleep together (I have an entire rant about “The Bachelor” and subsequent spin-off for another day)?
If we are so desperate to see the Church walk in the fullness of Mark 16:17-18, are we willing to do the work to get there? Read the Word, memorize the Word, preach the Word, live the Word.